MarketingLand’s "10 Lies You Should Never Believe From SEO Gurus"
caught my eye, possibly because I recently went through an interview
process with eight different SEO “experts.” The experience was
educational and impressive, though not in a good way.
That post inspired me to offer my take on the untruths, myths, and misconceptions commonly found in public relations. Here are some of the top contenders.
"PR is free advertising." Earned and paid media
are typically not comparable, and they certainly aren’t interchangeable.
Ideally, they work in concert. PR can almost never achieve the
frequency of paid media, and of course we trade the message control
typical of paid advertising for credibility and depth of story.
"The more press releases, the more publicity." This
myth is dying a slow death, as clients and agencies alike are adapting
press release strategies and usage to the evolving news environment, Google
algorithms, and sensible communications strategies.
"That’s an A1 story." Any agency professional who
promises a front-page story, or any type of media “placement,” in such a
predictable way is very likely to be overselling.
"The more keywords, the better." This appeared on the SEO list as well. It’s not true for SEO, and it certainly doesn’t apply in PR.
"We have a secret sauce that no one can duplicate." We agency folk work very hard to differentiate our businesses. We can achieve that by dint of talent, smart strategy, and clever use
of tools, but no one has a magic bullet.
"At your fee, you’ll get the 'A' team." A client
recently told us a large and well-known agency pushed them to sign with
this claim, threatening that the “A” team would not be available if the
client dallied. Yikes. So does that mean other clients get the B team or
"We can make your crisis go away." Crisis
management is really a misnomer. It’s more realistic to talk about
anticipation of a negative or harmful event, and basic preparation for a
threat to one’s reputation. The key is to focus on good corporate
conduct, but in the case of error, to bite the bullet and accept
"PR drives sales." It can, and when it does,
it’s magic. But this one makes me uncomfortable, because PR is typically
not a reliable tool for demand generation.
"Media relationships are everything." Media
relationships mean access, which is the first step in generating earned
media. It can also help deliver the type of quality feedback that helps
improve a story or persevere. But no amount of closeness will sell a bad
"We can guarantee results in the first month." This
one’s not necessarily a lie, but it’s hard to swallow. Anyone who
guarantees high-quality media results within a given time period,
particularly at the beginning of an engagement, is rolling the dice. We
work in an unpredictable news environment, amidst conditions we don’t
control, so a more realistic commitment is usually more credible.
Dorothy Crenshaw is the founder of Crenshaw Communications. This article originally appeared on the firm's blog.